Nike, Apple close US stores as retail chains weigh coronavirus options

(NEW YORK) — The coronavirus outbreak has begun to affect big retail stores in the country, as two major companies announced this weekend they will close all of their U.S. storefronts for the rest of the month.

Nike announced Saturday it will shut down all of its stores in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand starting Monday and will keep them closed until March 27. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement the company is taking lessons from how it handled the outbreak in China, where the tech company shut down stores in February for a month, and will apply the same procedure for all stores outside China until March 27.

“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’ transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” Cook said in a statement.

Both Nike and Apple said customers can still purchase products and services on their respective websites during the two-week closures.

So far, these are the two major retailers to shut down their brick and mortar operations in the U.S. during the outbreak. Several companies have announced plans to reduce their store hours and beef up their sanitizing efforts.

Walmart said starting Sunday, all of its stores would operate with reduced hours, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., until further notice.

“This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing,” Dacona Smith, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s said they will keep their stores open with normal business hours for the time being, but are conducting more cleaning in their locations.

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